Archive for the Reviews Category

Green: Revenge is Constant

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on April 9, 2010 by blakejohnson

I recently read Jay Lake’s Green, a novel about a girl, enslaved and liberated, tortured and blessed. Engrossed in the world she explores, it was most interesting to read about a young girl going through trial after trial and finding a harder, stronger place under each layer of self pulled back by whatever new cruelty she’s endured. A fascinating exploration of souls and courage, determination and character, Green is a worthy read. Continue reading

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Palimpsest: A Lucid Dream

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2010 by blakejohnson

I’ve just finished reading Palimpsest. I first read about it on io9, and what piqued my interest up until cracking the spine was that it was a story about suffering; people dealing with pain. And it certainly is.
Continue reading

Movie Review: Where The Wild Things Are

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Life, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by blakejohnson

Ahh, childhood memories. Such fond nights when I’d settle into bed, head on parent’s arm or chest, and they’d read me stories before going to sleep. This one was one of my favorites. I loved the drawings, the monsters, and Max with his forts – I built forts countless times in all the houses I grew up in. But enough of me, on to the movie…

Now, I haven’t read the book in years, but I’ll do my best to remember… The plot was different from the book, but it needed to be; there wouldn’t have been enough story or development to adapt it straight from book to screen. So some changes were made. The monsters though were great, just how I remembered them, and Max, while obviously a child actor’s version of Max, was pretty darn close to what I remember from the books. Maybe a little more sad or angry than I’d expected, but then again, changes needed to be made for the film.

When it comes down to it, it wasn’t exactly what I’d expected, but it hit the spot. It’s a mature look at what it means to be a kid, and sure, the emotion’s shared and loved by everyone, but it’s damn good to be reminded every now and then. Basically I went in for a reminder of childhood, of imagination and innocence, and I got teary enough times to be satisfied that the movie was doing its job. I remember sitting in my room playing with Legos for hours and hours, building bigger and bigger castles, ninja fortresses, even a cowboy ghost town at one point. Oh yea… and the pirate ships…oh, did I love my pirates. There was no reason not to play, no reason not to explore and imagine and create things, and I feel that’s something I’ve lost a bit of now, growing up. Things need to be justified, planned, organized. Sometimes I think we all need to take a few steps back, chill, and let the wild rumpus start.

Early Screening: Ninja Assassin

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2009 by blakejohnson

VIFF continues, and with its continuation comes an early premiere screening of Ninja Assassin, James McTeigue‘s (V for Vendetta) new film about ninjas, revenge, kick-ass fighting and boatloads of blood. Needless to say, this was a crowd-pleaser. Awesome from the get-go, it packs the punches (and kicks, and blades, and other ninja weapon goodies) into a nicely stylized modernized ninja B-movie complete with an angry old sensei, a lost love, and a chance for redemption by the spilling of blood. Lots of blood. In fact, try counting the bloodsplosions (yes, bloodsplosions) and I promise you’ll give up within the first 5-10 minutes.

Official release date is November 25, so head out to the theaters then and git yer butt in gear for some fun!

VIFF Finale

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by blakejohnson

So I’ve been and watched the third movie of the day and, man am I whipped. All that theater-sittin’ and movie-watchin’ really takes a lot outta you :P. So here’s that last review…

The Eclipse

I haven’t seen a cross between a pretty serious drama and a jumpy horror film before, so in that respect this was cool to watch. Also, horror’s usually a living-room deal for me, so the audience reactions were fun, even if the scares weren’t too serious. Just some jump moments, and I suppose the heavier, slower-paced, serious drama bits and the somewhat-quirky comedic bits made the scary jumps more jumpy. What first drew me to this was hearing Aidan Quinn in the cast list, ‘I haven’t seen him in anything for ages,’ I thought, so I went along for the ride. He, along with the rest of cast (male lead, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, and female lead, Iben Hjejle) gave good performances in what’s essentially an entertainment piece that dabbles in emotion and fear, loss, grief and a bit of humor. Another film about life (adding to the day’s previous movies), this ended on a good note, a realistic one I thought, better than the usual romantic fare we get in mainstream cinema. Final word(s): good stuff :D.

Links:

VIFF Listing
IMDB

VIFF … so far

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by blakejohnson

Alrighty then…been a longo time since I made any sort of update but here goes nothin’…

Been attending VIFF today, saw two films so far and thought I’d share my..thoughts.

The Anchorage

As far as a barebones indie first feature film effort goes, not bad. As far as an engaging, energetic, complex or intriguing film – visually or story-wise – not so much. Given the fact their goal was to make ‘something you wouldn’t normally see in Hollywood theaters’, it was alright. They said in a Q&A afterward, responding to a question about the acting we’re used to as being very expressive of emotion all the time, ‘but you don’t always express emotion, do you?’ More interesting than the questions were the answers, their seemingly interested-in-their-art while disinterested-if-you-didn’t-understand-it attitudes made for somewhat amusing back-and-forths between the filmmakers and the audience. There was a time when I’d have enjoyed this more, just not my type of movie really anymore.

Links:

VIFF Listing

Cooking History

This was a bit more my style: European history – specifically war stories – told by military cooks from Germany, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, Algiers, Croatia and France. It was interesting and sadistically amusing to see the contrast between these jovial cooks and their stories about the brutalities of war and watch their methods of killing and slaughtering animals (yes, multiple times) and preparing meals. A constant awareness is kept, however, of each of these people’s struggles during and after the wars. They’re very human, very worn and experienced, very real. Ultimately a portrait of people in war, food and moving on, it’s entertaining, touching, humorous, honest and pretty solid.

Links:

VIFF Listing
Film Website

There’s another coming up tonight, so I’ll letcha know about that ‘un too at some point. It’s an Irish thriller-romance…so yea, I’m lookin’ forward to it :P.

Lesbian Vampire Killers

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by blakejohnson

Hahaha, oh this was great fun. I knew it’d be fun, and I knew it’s be sexy, and I knew it’d be…great. And it was. Great fun, hugely in the vein of Edgar Wright; tons of his camera moves, cutting style and great humor and campiness. Lots of fun watching MyAnna Buring as a virgin mythological studies student and her troop of scantily-clad (but non-lesbian) women friends tantalize the chubby Fletch to near-bewilderment. Lots of fun, worth checking out.